The picturesque seaside town of Kennebunkport is not only one of Maine’s most popular vacation spots, it also boasts a stellar dining scene where laidback joints sit comfortably beside upscale eateries. In our guide to the best restaurants in Kennebunkport, we take in some of the town’s best local food from legendary lobster dishes at a long-standing seafood restaurant to exquisite farm to fork fare at a luxury boutique hotel.
Earth at Hidden Pond
Hotel Restaurant, American
Located among the hotel gardens, Earth at Hidden Pond boasts a beautiful interior full of natural elements – walls of natural wood and a preserved apple tree dotted with fairy lights that acts as a chandelier – that perfectly suits its organic menu. Executive chef Justin Walker sources fare from the hotel’s own onsite farm to craft exquisite dishes like local seafood paella and birch-glazed short ribs.
One of Kennebunkport’s best loved and most longstanding seafood restaurants, Nunan’s Lobster Hut first set up shop in 1953 when local fisherman George Nunan decided to expand his business. Over 60 years later, Nunan’s Lobster Hut remains family owned and operated and the charming red and yellow painted wooden building in which it resides has become an iconic mainstay in Kennebunkport’s dining scene. Beyond its legendary, steamed-to-perfection lobster – available on its own or in a stew, salad or roll – Nunan’s Lobster Hut serves a much loved clam chowder and guests shouldn’t leave without sampling its famous blueberry pie a la mode.
Located on the outskirts of Kennebunkport in a beautifully converted old farmhouse in neighboring Kennebunk’s Lower Village, On the Marsh Bistro serves upscale American fare in an elegant, romantic space overlooking tidal salt marshes. Head chef Jeffrey Savage crafts exquisite entrees like roasted half duck with hash, and pan-seared sea scallops with Tuscan white beans, kale and roasted red pepper sauce. On the Marsh’s bar serves up slightly more casual, but nevertheless delicious, plates like Maine lobster stew and pork and cabbage pot stickers with soy-ginger dipping sauce.
Located in downtown Kennebunkport’s Dock Square in the historic Kennebunkport Inn, One Dock Prime serves classic American steakhouse fare in a stylish space boasting beautiful views of the Kennebunk River. Start with a tempting appetizer of beef carpaccio with herb mustard dressing and micro greens or wagyu meatballs with teriyaki sauce before choosing from mouthwatering mains like tender filet mignon with red wine bordelaise sauce, char-broiled double cut pork chop or swordfish with citrus marinade and tomato relish – perfect when paired with one of One Dock Prime’s quality wines or classic cocktails.
A Kennebunkport dining tradition, Alisson’s Restaurant has been serving its signature American pub grub for over forty years. Family owned, Alisson’s resides in a cozy, casual downtown space and in addition to its classic pub eats – think gourmet burgers and build-your-own pizzas alongside dishes like Maine lobster mac and cheese or New York sirloin steak – serves a number of locally themed drinks. Try a Maine Bluetini made with local Cold River blueberry vodka, triple sec, Chambord and fresh lime or a pint of Alisson’s very own Dock Square Ale.
Bandaloop is known among local diners for its healthy, organic fare and laidback, upscale-casual ambiance. Many locally sourced ingredients from across New England feature on Bandaloop’s menu including crab cakes made with Lubec caught crab and jumbo dayboat scallops from New Hampshire. This local focus extends to its bar menu too which offers a number of locally brewed beers. Vegetarians and vegans also have plenty of options to choose from such as charred tofu with a seaweed-lemon broth, udon noodles, spring vegetables and togarashi.
Mabel’s Famous Baked Stuffed Lobster | Courtesy Mabel’s Lobster Claw
Another much loved, longstanding seafood restaurant, Mabel’s Lobster Claw‘s staple seafood dishes have become a local dining tradition. Take a seat in Mabel’s cozy, casual dining room on colder days and enjoy a bowl of New England-style clam chowder. Alternatively, sit on the front porch on warmer days and enjoy dishes like Mabel’s famous baked stuffed lobster pack with Maine scallops, moist bread pudding and bacon or a lobster roll with French fries and homemade coleslaw while basking in the sun – just make sure you leave room for a slice of Mabel’s famous pie.
Salt & Honey serves made-from-scratch comfort food and has been named one of Maine’s best new restaurants by Down East Magazine. In fact, Salt & Honey’s first year in business was so successful they expanded from serving just breakfast and lunch – think hearty wild Maine blueberry pancakes and fried haddock sandwich with house-made tartar – to include dinner service too. The evening menu includes dishes like Salt & Honey’s signature burger and seared dayboat scallops. Guests can wash down their comfort food classics with a number of local craft beers.
For diners looking to indulge a sweet tooth, Rococo Artisan Ice Cream – a cute, little parlor in the heart of downtown Kennebunkport is a must-try. Rococo’s process is inspired by the Argentine method of making ice cream whereby it is frozen slowly and served warm to ensure maximum flavor. All of Rococo’s ice creams are handcrafted onsite and made from cream and milk sourced from the family-owned and operated Hatchland Farms in neighboring New Hampshire. Choose from classic varieties like banana split and dark chocolate chip or specialty flavors including molasses gingersnap or chai cardamom. Keep an eye out for Rococo’s regularly rotating seasonally inspired ice creams.